Jianan Yang ’13 gets a head start on opportunities and internships
by Bill Sulon
February 23, 2011
Jianan Yang ’13 with David Sarcone, chair and associate professor of IB&M. Yang is fresh off a winter internship with a suburban Philadelphia investment firm, Graham Partners.
Even before the start of his second year at Dickinson, Jianan Yang ’13 already has accomplished what many students strive to achieve by graduation.
A double major in mathematics and international business and management (IB&M), Yang has worked as a teaching assistant, excelled in an upper-level accounting course, prepared and revised a resumé through the Career Center, worked as an intern during the summer at a bank in China and, during winter break, interned for a private-equity firm in suburban Philadelphia.
“This is the perfect intersection of an undergraduate education and internship opportunities coupled with the right student,” says David Sarcone, chair and associate professor of IB&M. “He is extremely intelligent and able to see and utilize the many resources available through the college. He’s been able to pull everything together in a way that will help him in his professional career.”
In November, Yang took a major step toward his career goal of investment banking when Sarcone invited him to attend the Benjamin Rush Award dinner. Yang arrived 30 minutes early and chatted with award recipient Donald Graham, who is chairman of The Graham Group, a York, Pa.-based company that manages approximately $3 billion in internal and third-party investment capital.
Graham and his wife Ingrid invited Yang to meet with their son Steve, the senior managing partner at Graham Partners, a privately held investment arm of The Graham Group. Based in Newtown Square, Pa., the partnership focuses on acquiring and investing in industrial companies with exceptional growth potential.
Yang spent his winter break working at Graham Partners, where he learned to evaluate investment opportunities, build valuation models and analyze industry trends. Working with a mentor, Yang analyzed the market position and growth prospects of a potential acquisition and then helped develop a purchase-price recommendation.
“I was really surprised I was approved for the internship,” says Yang, who hails from Wuhan, China’s fourth largest city. “This is what I really want to do. I want to do something related to investments in the financial industry, and the work at Graham Partners is aligned with my future career aspirations. I appreciate everything my boss Steve—who is also now my friend—did for me. It was a great experience.”
‘Bright and eager’
Michael Fratantuono, associate professor of IB&M and international studies, says that Yang was as thorough in his preparation for the internship as he was in his fall course, The Global Economy.
“I could tell from the outset that he was a student who was very bright and eager to learn material,” Fratantuono says. “He did exceptionally well in all aspects of the course. And I was quite impressed by the fact that he worked so hard to get ready for the internship. He read through four books in accounting and finance to get ready. He is truly remarkable and quite mindful that fate has treated him kindly so far.”
Yang says that Dickinson has been instrumental in his success. After the Rush award dinner, Fratantuono told him that the encounter could have significant positive repercussions.
“Professor Fratantuono said, ‘It might change your whole life,’ ” he recalls, noting that meeting the Grahams was key to landing the internship. “Real business people don’t communicate by Facebook. You get so much more accomplished with face-to-face meetings.”